By Sam Mamet, CML executive director, and Angelica Wedell, National Research Center Inc. marketing and business development coordinator
Local government employees and public servants work hard to make their cities and towns better places in which to live. So for the last 94 years, the Colorado Municipal League has brought together hundreds of city and town staff and elected officials from all over Colorado to network, learn, and celebrate municipal accomplishments. This year, more than 1,000 attendees gathered in Vail, where the CML annual conference has been hosted many times before.
This event is a yearly highlight for many attendees, including sponsor National Research Center Inc., who asked a few municipal staff and elected officials what inspires them to serve in the public sector and what they appreciated most about the conference.
“Coming from the private sector previously, one thing that I really love and appreciate is the passion local government employees have for what they do. It is not just about a paycheck.”
– Julia Holland, Loveland human resources director
“Local government is where the rubber hits the road. It’s where we can have a huge impact on a daily basis. When we all work together with elected officials, city staff and the community, great things happen.”
– Mike Bennett, Fruita city manager
“[In today’s communities] everyone is busy. Not everybody has time to be as involved as they might like to. I’m so happy to represent so many people in my community at the level that I’m able to. I just try to keep those folks in mind and take that responsibility seriously and make myself available and accessible to listen.”
– Stephanie Walton, Lafayette council member
“I am especially fascinated by planning, which a lot of people find boring. But how can you find it boring when that is what you walk past every day? It’s what you drive through every day. It is what makes your community. What people love or don’t love about their community starts with planning and land use.”
– Melissa Mata, Mead management assistant and Colorado Department of Local Affairs Best and Brightest intern
“I really like the idea that council members, city managers and local government staff can all learn a lot from different sessions. My mayor is here and he’s going to his council sessions and I’m going to the administrator sessions, and I really like that blend.”
– Brandy Reitter, Buena Vista town administrator
“I’m still picking up on how [local government] all works. So to come here and learn from all of these people who have been doing it for years has been great. The amount of knowledge in the people here, and their friendliness, can help me in my own challenges.”
– Ken Kreie, Fruita council member
“I’ve found the conference classes enlightening and useful for future council work. I hope to bring some of this information back to colleagues in Lafayette. I also hope that they continue to have CML conferences in these wonderful environments like Vail.”
– Tom Dowling, Lafayette council member
“I got a lot of information out of the federal agencies update and how it affects cities and residential programs. And it’s good to network; you see people you’ve met before and you meet some new ones. I’ve really enjoyed that.”
– Duncan McArthur, Grand Junction council member
Many municipal officials recognize the value of learning to help them in their service to their residents – not just at the conference, but year-round through CML’s workshops and webinars. And CML recognizes their dedication through the MUNIversity program, which provides awards at various levels to outstanding municipal leaders.
If you attended the conference, we thank you. If you missed it, we hope to see you next year for our 95th CML Annual Conference in Breckenridge, June 20-23, 2017.